Antarctica

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  • The reason we canceled our Africa tour just days before the Omicron variant appeared was because we could not guarantee meeting the 48 hour requirement, never mind one day.

  • edited December 2021

    Portolan - Great attitude, but I think people that haven't been to Antarctica as much as you have would feel like they are greatly missing out. I could be wrong, but wasn't this trip, when people signed up, billed as an Antarctica trip and not a solar eclipse trip?

    Sounds like you will only have two days (day 9,10) left where landings are possible, before you head back across the Drake Passage.

    Do you have a feel if the other Tauck travelers feel as you do, that sacrificing landings for a possible chance (which didn't materialize) to view a solar eclipse is no big deal?

  • Yes, his trip was specifically to see the eclipse. He said it took in a different part of the Antarctic area than the Tauck trips do. Maybe prone to rougher sea conditions too but worth it for those who want to see eclipses.

  • Portolan - My bad. I totally get it now. Everyone's expectations were set beforehand. Sorry you didn't get clear skies to see the eclipse. You were on a Smithsonian tour, with a Smithsonian itinerary or on a Ponant tour, with a Ponant itinerary specifically to see the eclipse.

    I misunderstood. I thought you meant that you were on a Tauck tour, but there were Smithsonian people on the ship as well. Like is often the case for Tauck small ship tours, Tauck doesn't fill up the entire Ponant ship.

  • AlanS - The 1 day test requirement for return to the US makes post tour stays problematic. I assume that if you fly home anytime on the tour itinerary's Travel Home Day, that Tauck will arrange to have you tested the prior day, at the proper time if required.

    With this being the case I would always take the Gift of Time day prior to the tour and never extend the tour. Arranging for tests and getting the results on my own after the tour would be too nerve wracking.

  • Too late for is, we booked two extra days on our Re booked Singapore Bali

  • On our Canada tour we were given Abbott Labs test kits that were monitored by telemedicine. You could use them at any time if you were staying longer. One or two people did manage to screw up and need a second kit. If Tauck uses these on other tours (check with them), you shouldn't have a problem. You might want to get a non-monitored test kit (free or soon to be free in America) to practice.

  • edited December 2021

    Smiling Sam
    8:05AM
    AlanS - The 1 day test requirement for return to the US makes post tour stays problematic. I assume that if you fly home anytime on the tour itinerary's Travel Home Day, that Tauck will arrange to have you tested the prior day, at the proper time if required.
    With this being the case I would always take the Gift of Time day prior to the tour and never extend the tour. Arranging for tests and getting the results on my own after the tour would be too nerve wracking.

    mil said her J&E group was tested the day prior to the farewell dinner, but that one couple had a post stay and Tauck made arrangements for them to be tested on Fly Home Day. It might me nerve wracking, but that would work for us. Due to flight scheduling and difference in the cost of lodging we are using our Gift of Time at the start of the tour.

  • Too bad lateral flow tests are not the norm here. Everyone in Britain can do them twice a week and some every time they want to go to a gathering.

  • Cathy and Steve: Welcome to BA! I know you are probably asleep now, but if you have time to tell us what kind of waterproof pants you got, my wife and I would be interested. We have ski gear that is ‘pretty waterproof’ but don’t know if that is adequate.

  • Just a note for your wife, you can find them in petite leg lengths, I think we got ours from REI for our Patagonia tour, I think I might be a bit taller than her but not much and I found they were perfect. It was very very windy too and they worked really well.

  • Thank you British. She just came from REI. Do you remember what they called them?

  • Sealord: Cathy and Steve: Welcome to BA! I know you are probably asleep now, but if you have time to tell us what kind of waterproof pants you got, my wife and I would be interested. We have ski gear that is ‘pretty waterproof’ but don’t know if that is adequate.

    Sealord--the waterproof pants I used for Antartica were Cabella's Gortex- Paclite Shell Ladies size S/P. I'm 5'2" and they fit perfectly.

  • So I’m interested in how the pants keep water out if the water is above the boots?

  • Sealord we never stepped in water above our boots.

  • Sorry to have gone dark, but in the Drake Passage (actually less rough than earlier parts of our expedition), the Tauck Forum decided I had signed out and every attempt to sign in was redirected to the UK Tauck site which wouldn't recognize my login.

    I'm glad it was straightened out that I wasn't on a Tauck trip, but I was on the same ship so I hoped that some of the information about L'Austral would aid the Tauck folks now on board.

    One thing that you may wonder about and may or may not have been explained already to those on-board is that the new prior day COVID test (not 24-hour test limit) was handled very well by the ship. Even though the requirement is that the test be NLT than the prior day and could therefore easily be 36+ hours before boarding your flight home from BA, the medical team on the ship decided to play it cautious and we were all tested the morning of disembarkation which didn't take long since it is a saliva swab. They turned the test results around so that when we went to the airport for the flight from Ushuaia to BA at non, we all received a printed copy of the test result. Because of the prior day definition, this test also covered those leaving a day later from BA which might be the case for some Tauck folks since our 138 people used up all the business class capacity for returning the night of disembarkation and so some who wanted business class decided to fly the next day.

    There actually ended up being no additional charge for this new test requirement since you technically need to be retested upon reentering Argentina despite the fact that we didn't land on any recognized territory of another country. So that test requirement (never asked for by the Argentinians) and planned for as part of the expedition satisfied the US reentry requirement where it was definitely asked for at check-in in BA for the flight home. Oh, and there is another (shorter) on-line Argentinian declaration that is supposed to be filled out within 48 hours of departing the country and was checked at the Argentinian passport control.

    So, many, many hoops to jump through, but we succeeded and, despite the weather, it was Antartica which is amazing. And we also made it home.

  • British, wardrobe question. We have all sorts of long johns/legging, socks and rain pants. Do you need three layers of long johns, regular pants and rain pant, or are the rain pants and undergarments enough? If not what type of pants would you suggest-dryfits?

  • You will have to ask the people who have been to Antarctica, I haven’t been, I went to Patagonia where we wore long Johns, lightweight travel pants and good rain pants. We needed all three layers.. movement much easier than wearing he y jeans and easier for any necessary laundering. The wind was the main factor for us, not the cold. It was strong enough to blow you off your feet, blew my husband’s glasses right off his face at point. However, we loved it there and plan to go back soon

  • Cathy - what was the lowest temperature you experienced?

  • It was much colder than that during our Yellowstone in Winter. It was windy and snowy, too. Dress appropriately and you won't have any problems!

  • edited December 2021

    Cathy. There are many of us here who are very grateful for your excellent review.
    Now you have returned to an Omicron world, I think you again,, as in 2020, may have been on the last vacation before countries close their borders again. How lucky you are. Our next Tauck foreign tour now looks as if it cannot happen as Israel has already closed it’s borders again.We so hope our vacation to Costa Rica in just three weeks, goes ahead. We were looking for our water shoes in the basement just yesterday for our white water rafting and a suitable overnight bag,,,the Tauck bags are a little big for just two nights. We were laughing that this prep was probably the death nell for our trip.

    I was surprised you found it so cold living in Missouri as you do. I know wind does make a difference. I hate the cold, but quite often we take our morning walk for at least an hour in the winter with temperatures lower than that. Walking fast, I guess we get warm better than having to watch every step as you must have done. I remember my first winter in the US when it got to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and the hairs in our noses froze, we didn’t stay out long that time!

    I never thought about rough conditions on the sea once you had passed through the Drake Passage because I thought it would be more sheltered near the peninsula. Now I see from your map that you were moving quite a lot and I guess at night. The crew must be amazing to have to work in those conditions. We had a rough night and day in Iceland. I can remember sitting in the library/panorama lounge at the back of our Ponant ship and the glasses were falling off the bar shelf and smashing onto the floor.

    We found the food on our Ponant ships nothing special either, but it was well cooked and tasty. In general, and especially French chefs, will be offended if you want to add anything to their dishes, as they consider they have seasoned their food to perfection. We rarely see even salt and pepper on a table when we eat out, which I admit is very little compared to the average American…we were overwhelmed by the condiment and snack isles in the supermarket when we came to America...and I guess that’s why we put on so much weight on our Tauck tours. I’ll be trying to make excuses to my dr on a routine visit today, as to why I’ve put on weight…ate a lot of deserts on our recent Florida trip and sat around the pool.

    If you are like me, you’ll be spending the day in the laundry room unpacking! Never mind, Christmas is coming. Enjoy and proudly display that wonderful photo of you both in your Santa hats!

  • When I made the Antarctica trip, the temperatures were usually in the low 20s during the day, when we were out and about. I wore longjohn pants with a pair of waterproof ski pants (no jeans). I also wore a longjohn undershirt with a sweatshirt and my red coat. Most often the coat wasn't even closed in the front because it got too hot walking around. I had a stocking cap that covered my ears (the only part of me that actually ever got very cold). I had the obvious big rubber boots and work a pair of thin nylon socks and a pair of regular, white cotton socks. My feet never got cold. I brought hand and foot warmers, but never used them. My tolerance for cold is pretty high, which isn't the same for everyone. Living in Florida the last five years has changed that a bit. I found the temperatures and cold to be much less of a problem than I expected. Like AlanS, Yellowstone in Winter (both times I've taken this trip) was much colder. The first time I took that trip I followed it with the Antarctic trip so that I only had to pack the cold weather gear once.

  • I'm curious if sunscreen was recommended for exposed face?

  • edited December 2021

    Taking photos is always a pain when it is cold (pun intended). In Yellowstone, I used some thinner liners with tactile fingertips or fold-back finger tips (I don't remember which) that I wore inside my big mittens, but I still had to take off one or both mittens and figure out what to do with them while taking photos. I thought about mitten keepers like little kids have on their snowsuits :D

    Unless anchored or docked, you'll find most boats will move throughout the night. They need to be underway and have enough forward speed to maneuver around icebergs, etc. or other ships nearby and counter the effects of current. Also, the ship will roll less/less randomly and be more stable if it is moving and it must be moving for stabilizers, if equipped, to work.

  • Sunscreen is recommended, but I never used it. No sunburn.

  • On the other hand, even with liberal application of sunscreen, my forehead got seriously burned probably on the clear sunny day when we spent about 90 minutes on a glacier and another 90 minutes on an ice floe where the reflected sunlight was intense.

    And, re: stabilizers on the Ponant ships - they are a big help IF they can be employed. They won't use the stabilizers anytime there is even a remote change of hitting ice...even bergie bits...since they could damage or destroy the stabilizers.

  • Eighteen days until we are out the door. Clearing the decks for action, the tree went out the door today.

  • Thought this show may be of interest

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